heat Trouble maintaining heat levels in fresh sauce

Hey guys. This is our first ever post here and we're a trio of friends from Asia looking for some much-needed advice since we keep hitting the same roadblock for the last three months while trying to whip up some homemade sauces.
 
We've been making sauces with fresh peppers in the standard method of:
Blend ingredients in food processor with vinegar
Add water to dilute
Bring to rolling boil in saucepan
Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes
Jar, cool and store.

While our sauces taste great just before jarring, cooling and refrigerating, the next day we lose a lot of flavour from our peppers and lost nearly almost all our heat even though we're using peppers like the 100,000 dragon pepper.
 
We're starting to suspect this may be either due to our pepper proportions or something to do with either vinegar, water or the length of the cook. 
 
Yesterday evening's batch was approximately this before one rolling boil and 15 minute simmer:
 
100g Jalapeno
50g Red pepper
30g Thai Dragon pepper
4 cloves of garlic
7.5g salt
100ml of vinegar
50ml of water. 
 
This morning's results:

Nearly all the heat from yesterday is gone. It's fair to say it's dropped from heat level 8 to heat level 3.
We've lost the strong Jalapeno flavour and the nice garlic flavour almost entirely, and it's been replaced by a sweet and sour taste.
A bit of separation. Pouring into a plate, we've got a saucy bit and a watery bit.
Taste isn't terrible but is markedly different from what we thought it would be.
In the end, a disappointment. 

Do you know where we might be going wrong here? 
 

salsalady

Business Member
:welcome: to thp, hatesauce!

I cant really think of anything specific that's causing the issues you describe. For the heat, maybe add a few even hotter peppers like habanero, or even hotter 7 Pot, scorpion, fatalii. All the peppers are available in colors so you can keep the red color it seems like you have going.

For separation, use xanthan or other gum thickener. There are foods like carrot, apple, yam, that have natural thickening qualities, but they will affect the flavor.

Here's some info in gums
http://thehotpepper.com/topic/39383-natural-gums-info/

One other note, it seems that heated foods feel 'hotter' than the same foods cold. So when making the sauce and tasting it hot, you may need to compensate with some of those hotter peppers. But to go from 8 to 3 is a pretty significant drop.

Maybe others will add some comments.

Glad to hear you are having fun experimenting.

Salsalady
 
salsalady said:
I cant really think of anything specific that's causing the issues you describe. For the heat, maybe add a few even hotter peppers like habanero, or even hotter 7 Pot, scorpion, fatalii. All the peppers are available in colors so you can keep the red color it seems like you have going.

For separation, use xanthan or other gum thickener. There are foods like carrot, apple, yam, that have natural thickening qualities, but they will affect the flavor.

Here's some info in gums
http://thehotpepper.com/topic/39383-natural-gums-info/

One other note, it seems that heated foods feel 'hotter' than the same foods cold. So when making the sauce and tasting it hot, you may need to compensate with some of those hotter peppers. But to go from 8 to 3 is a pretty significant drop.
 
 
Thanks for this. We've got xanthan gum and will likely try to use that to avoid separation. Will try and amp up the hottest peppers as well in the next batch. I'm wondering if there's any real merit in refrigerating if we're already using enough vinegar to keep things shelf stable, or whether the fact that we jar right after cooking instead of leaving the sauce out for an extended period to cool has any effect on the taste the next day. The 8 to 3 drop is worrying. What's worse is we actually had something that tasted great last night only for it to completely change this morning :( 
 

salsalady

Business Member
If it has a good pH, it should be Hot Fill-Hold processed. Directions here
http://thehotpepper.com/topic/29501-making-hot-sauce-101/

If it is cooled, the jar will not get a vacuum and it will have to be refrigerated.

Even sauces with pH 4.0 can spoil if opened and left out for an extended time. HFH for shelf stable while sealed. Refrigerate after opening. Refrigerate if not processed following the directions in Hot Sauce 101.
 

Siv

Extreme Member
I'm a relative noob to all this too but there are some things that really surprised me when I made my first sauces.
 
The biggest was that things taste different with time and temperature. I would take one of your sauces out and let it come to room temp and taste - it will be different from when tasted out of the fridge. Also, the sauce will change over time as it's stored. A freshly made sauce will taste different to one that's been in the bottle for a month.
 
I've also experienced the heat loss from pan to bottle. I made what I thought were stupid hot sauces only for them to be just hot once bottled. If you want to make really hot sauce, you have to use a lot of really hot peppers - far more than you think. Also, I wouldn't add water - it just dilutes the sauce so dilutes the taste and the heat. Replace your 50ml of water with 50g of hot peppers and see how it turns out.
 
If there's one thing I've learned, its that there's a lot of experimentation required to get a good sauce recipe. Maybe do smaller batches and test until you get something you like and then go for the large batch.
 
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